Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Sivan 5765 - June 8, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Kesher: Second Luchot for our Youth at Risk

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Shavuos, Kabbolas Hatorah — it's in the air. Every rebbe, every teacher, is trying to instill into his talmidim the importance and relevance of the Sinai experience, attempting to develop a true ahavas haTorah and ahavas hamitzvos. The frightening thought is the ever growing number of our youth who sit apathetically through such classes, who have no interest in limud haTorah or shmiras hamitzvos, youth who have jettisoned their Yiddishkiet or at least a large part of it. Often they might still put up a front of observance but really they are not keeping anything.

Too many of us are familiar with this syndrome: lack of interest, boredom, idleness, no hat or jacket leading to casual clothes . . . and the downward slide. The causes are numerous but the result is always the same; an angry, disillusioned and non-motivated young man lost on the high seas of life. Thia causes terrible pain for the family, is a serious source of worry for community leaders and a fear for every parent, but what can be done? How can we change someone not interested in change?

This year, we met seventy young men eagerly awaiting the opportunity to be "mekabal the Torah." Seventy young men who last year were typical of the boy described above and this year are typical of our yeshiva world. What happened? They came to Kesher.

Kesher, a Yerushalayim-based yeshiva established specifically to help these youth, is now in it seventh year. A tremendously innovative hybrid of a regular yeshiva atmosphere with a therapeutic/recreational program provide the wonder recipe.

Kesher has regular gemara shiurim, halacha, and hashkofoh — together with many one-on-one sessions with tutors. Every talmid has a personalized schedule designed specifically for his needs. The beis hamedrash houses an exclusive kollel whose members dedicate one hour a day to learn with a Kesher boy. The results of this system are startling.

Hand in hand with the Torah learning is a therapy program headed by Huna Friedland, the well-known therapist. Supported by a staff of four, including the renowned Yona Pollock and Dr. Avigdor Bonchek, a clinical psychologist and a former professor at Hebrew university, this department is central to the development of the boys. Everyone has at least one private session plus one group therapy per-week to help sort out his issues and teach the talmidim how to deal with life. The students gravitate to these sessions like to a magnet and all credit much of the change to these sessions.

The third arm of Kesher is a state-of-the-art exercise room, a music studio, a fully equipped recreation room and a computer room. These enable students to turn free time into productive time and create a good atmosphere. Exciting tiyulim and field trips, crowned by five days in Poland turning the past into the future, complete the picture of Kesher. Not to forget, of course, the excellent food.

"The greatest year of my life," "The happiest year of my life," "The most important year of my life," commented all the boys when asked what Kesher means to them. "Today I am happy," "Now I am motivated," "Life suddenly has meaning" and all together: "There is no family like the Kesher family." As soon as one enters the door one can sense the electricity in the air, the whole building seems to be moving.

We met the roshei yeshiva Reb Michoel Schoen and Reb Yaacov Bradpiece both with a history of some thirty years in chinuch. They are obviously very proud of their achievements. "The work requires tremendous patience and a firm belief in the boys, but when the results start to appear everything was worthwhile," they said. Come and looking around. You'll understand.

Kesher is located at Rechov Hamaasef 9, Jerusalem. Tel 972-2- 537-8180; Fax: 972-2-537-8778. Email:


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